The use of voice assistants for positive aging
The health emergency caused by the pandemic has highlighted the importance of factors contributing to active aging defined as a process of optimizing health, social participation and safety to improve the quality of life of older individuals.
The Voice4health study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-help psychological protocol supported by the use of voice-activated intelligent personal assistants to promote well-being and active aging in the elderly population.
STRATEGY AND METHODOLOGY
Datawizard together with the EngageMinds Hub Experimentation Center, was responsible for the design and implementation of the experiment, based on a research protocol that included for each participant, four interviews according to CATI mode: two weeks before the start of the experiment, just before the start, at the end of the two-week experiment, and after another fortnight, as a follow-up action.
This approach fostered a positive disposition on the part of participants when completing the telephone questionnaires, allowing for direct evidence on the contribution to change induced by the Alexa voice assistant in the sample subjects’ days as they became more familiar with the device.
From a methodological point of view, the scientific matrix behind this research is derived from another scientifically validated protocol called “the Secret Garden” (www.covidfeelgood.com), the results of which have already been published internationally.
This is an immersive video that simulates a natural environment and is aimed at promoting relaxation and self-reflection. This has been supplemented with a series of exercises that take advantage of the voice assistant functions used in the study such as games, music, video calls, questions and answers, news, and more.
During the first week of the trial, the people involved were then asked to perform some exercises, based on applications of the voice assistant; while in the second week they were left free to use the device as they saw fit. As long as they recorded actions and feelings in a diary, which was then analyzed along with the 4 questionnaires, by researchers at Catholic University at the end of the six weeks.
About the Project
Participating sample requirements:
- age between 65 – 80 years
- retirement status
- minimal technological knowledge
- wi-fi connection
- non-cohabitation with children or grandchildren
Phases of the study:
- Waiting period: viewing the study and installing device in the home. Waiting for the start of the trial to be able to use the Amazon Echo Show 8 device.
- Experimentation: daily interaction through specific skills with Alexa intelligent voice assistant for two consecutive weeks
- Follow up: free use of the device at will
Partner of the Project
Architecture of the project and definition of each of the phases of experimentation;
production of supporting materials for participants.
Selection of a sample of 60 participants and management of onboarding of subjects, from the contract stage to the dedicated help desk.
Coordination and management of all project operational processes: device delivery and installation within participants’ homes, Help Desk activation for protocol info and technical support for device use, administration of questionnaires in CATI mode.
Data collection and their anonymization in order to deliver an ad hoc data set for reading and studying the results by researchers at Catholic University.